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Texturism: An Underlying Layer to Colorism

February 19, 2019

Texturism operates in a similar manner as colorism.  It is the acceptance or glorification of an individual's straight or loosely coiled, natural hair texture over an individual's course, kinkier, or tightly coiled natural hair texture.

Like colorism, individuals with straighter or loosely coiled hair are often times seen as more attractive, afforded better treatment and opportunity, and valued over those with kinkier, tightly coiled textures. Texturism in the Black community is used as a  caste system. It has birthed the term "good hair" and marginalized those with so called "bad hair".  

Growing up, I recall hearing on the playground or even  family members make comments about someone who was dark in complexion but had "good hair". They'd say things like, " you were dark as a baby, but had hair like an Indian" or " yea she's dark, but she got good hair".

In the Black community there appears to be a constant search for "Blackness" but with white features and undertones referred to as "whiteness dipped in chocolate" by some. This is merely a colorist's cover-up. They will be accepting of dark skin and Black features as long as the nose isn't too wide, lips aren't too full, and the hair isn't too "nappy".  

I'll be honest returning to my natural state was easier than I expected and well accepted due to the positive feedback I received from many, not necessarily regarding my hair's health but it's texture. I've been told by several men and women how my texture was pleasing to the eye, while they would down their own hair because it was what they referred to as "nappy", as if they were cursed by the "hair gods". I loathe the idea of being put on a pedestal for something so minuscule and out of all of our control, however I have observe the difficulty for a Black woman with dark skin and 4c natural hair to be accepted and respected in comparison to a dark skin Black woman with type 3/4a/4b hair in our community.

In the Black community under the colorist caste system texturism is another way to divide blackness according to how "non-Black" one appears; Subliminally stating, " okay, you are definitely visibly Black, but you must be mixed with something because your hair isn't like the others". Texturism is apart of colorism because the notion is that the lighter you are in complexion, the looser textured the hair will be. Many of us have seen the memes on social media comparing naturals with type 3 hair to to women with type 4 hair captioned something like, "this is natural, this is nappy".   

As previously mentioned texturism is about visibility. The "kinkier" textures appear to be rough and umanageable, therefore considered to be undesirable,but often times is  the softest and fluffiest to the touch. Further proving that the proximity to phenotypical European features is the measuring stick for even those who are visibly unambiguously Black.

The worth put on things such as skin tone and hair texture is preposterous and holds no merit aside from the value given within the Black community. All hair is "good hair" as long as it is serving its purpose!

 

 

A' Cylo ( ˈā/ˈsil/ lō) - “I am a writer with a passion for using my voice to speak on the issues many refuse. My hobbies include writing, dancing, and gardening. I'm a fan of all shades of blue; with a slight addiction to popcorn, chips, and salsa. I teach but more importantly I learn; continuously. Did I mention I'm a writer; and I'm serious about my content"?!

 

 

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